April 25, 2010

Sabzi Khordan: Persian Assortment of Fresh Herbs

Iranian Herb Platter

سبزی خوردن Sabzi khordan refers to an abundant mixture of fresh herbs and vegetables served every day alongside most main meals. The word سبز "sabz" means green and سبزی  "sabzi" means herbs/vegetables and the word خوردن "khordan" means eating. Eating greens and vegetables with almost every meal is an essential part and deep-rooted tradition in the Iranian culture. Iranian cuisine revolves around using fresh and seasonal vegetables in cooking and serving them fresh daily.

Sabzi Khordan

A traditional Persian plate of fresh herbs usually consists of basil (rayhan), mint (naana), tarragon (tarkhoon), chives (tareh), radish (torob-cheh), scallion (piaz-cheh), cilantro (geshniz), parsley (jafari), dill (shevid),  and Iranian watercress (shaahi). For many of us who live outside of Iran and who may not be able to find the exact herbs that we are used to, we've learned to substitute. For example, instead of using "tareh", I use chives in sabzi khordan, and in cooking, I use the green part of scallions or leeks whenever the recipe calls for "tareh."

Iranian Fresh Herb Platter
Basil, Cilantro, Dill, Mint, Parsley, Radishes, Scallions

Typically, a platter of washed and trimmed herbs is placed on the table and is passed around for each person to take a handful. This aromatic, flavorful, and nutritious side enhances the taste of any dish including all Iranian polow and khoresh dishes, kababs, and kotlets.

نون و پنیر و سبزی  Noon paneer sabzi consists of fresh herbs served with feta cheese and flatbread like lavash or pita bread. To me, this herb, cheese, and warm bread with the addition of walnuts is a perfect meal all by itself. This is a healthy, light, and tasty meal with no cooking involved! What more can you ask for?

Sabzi Khordan - Fresh Herb Platter


Use a bunch of each of the following herbs. Create your own combination.

Basil (ریحان )
Chives (تره)
Cilantro (گشنیز)
Mint (نعنا)
Parsley (جعفری)
Scallions (پیازچه)
Tarragon (ترخون)
Radishes (تربچه)
Watercress (شاهی)

Sliced Feta cheese (پنیر)
1/2 cup walnuts (گردو)
Flat Bread (نان)

  1. Trim the herbs, remove the stems of parsley, cilantro, basil and mint. Remove the leaves of radishes and the green parts of the scallions, (you may serve them if desired). Make sure every herb is trimmed into small and bite-size pieces.
  2. Rinse all herbs thoroughly including packaged herbs. 
  3. Place the washed herbs in a colander and drain. 
  4. Place the herbs on a platter and serve with feta cheese, walnuts and warm bread.



  1. I love this dish, my friend Sepideh, introduced to sabzi khordan, and I have to say that I make it frequently, especially in the summer when its easy to get fresh herbs. I love to bring this on a picnic! I cannot wait to shock her by using the appropriate names =)

  2. How beatifully arranged your sabzi are!

  3. I love the idea of this as a side dish to any meal. Herbs can just make a dish that much more delicious.

  4. I love sabzi khordan; this was the way I would judge whether a Persian restaurant was good or not so good! (how their sabzi khordan was!)

  5. This dish sounds incredible with all these beautiful fresh herbs!

  6. Wow, so nice...love the way you presented the herbs...great pictures :-)

  7. mmmmmm noon-o paneer-o gerdu my fave. i eat so much of this that when it comes to eating the maindish, i am already full! beautiful photos and how wonderful that you wrote about something so simple and elegant on your blog-to introduce the beauty of the Persian kitchen to everyone. xxxx shayma

  8. My wife is Persian and she really loves the herbs and spices. Most of the American substitutes will work, but she prefers the originals. Keep up the great work with your articles and please stop by my health blog sometime. The web address is http://healthy-nutrition-facts.blogspot.com/.

  9. hello, just to let you know that I posted the recipe for the walnut roll that you asked about. :)

  10. Beautiful! Your photos are eye-catching and bring back many happy memories of enjoying this beloved herb garden on a plate!

  11. I just found your blog and delam havaye vatan karde (in a good way).
    Thanks for sharing!

  12. I love this! It brings healthy greens into every meal! Gorgeous pics too! :)

  13. So much more healthy and delicious than a "western" salad!

  14. You really should write a cookbook. I'd buy it even though I also use the website.

    I spent a lot on a certain large Persian cookbook and it's filled with typos! It's been reprinted a bunch and it still has frustrating typos that can make or break a meal. And for those of us who are knew at Persian food, we do not need typos!

  15. beautiful fresh pictures. we call vegetables subzi in Hindi, amazing how language gets transported and shared.

  16. Love it. It's funny how a simple thing such as reading about sabzi khordan on your blog makes me so happy to be an Iranian! Also, tahchin and mirza ghasemi (both according to your blog recipes!) are cooking on my stove. After having tried some of your other recipes, I know they'll be delicious. Thanks for blogging!

  17. Goli, thanks so much for your kind words. I'm so glad you like my blog and find it useful.

    Best wishes,

  18. My favorite was rayhan banafsh. My parents brought the seeds from Iran and every summer I plant them along with regular rayhan,Nanah,tarkhon,tarreh, and shahi. All in wood boxes in my balcony. My girls love them and it is a enjoyable hobby.

  19. Beautiful arrangement, beautiful photos, beautiful delishicousness.